Russell Glen Robison (Delta Blue) Tribute / In Memoriam
This page is dedicated to Russell Robison who was a member of our local poetry group for a year or so before his death. Please see my personal comments below.
Above is the cover/photo for Russell Robison's Facebook page
About Russell Glen Robison
Russell Robison, who went by the pen name of Delta Blue. Russell explained his pseudonym: "DELTA BLUE....a slang term we used to describe navy personel fighting IN country....mekong DELTA navy BLUE...... "]
I recently discovered that Russell had passed away, and according to Social Security Administration records, Russell was born on April 14, 1946 and passed away on Monday, February 24, 2014.
When I created Russell's poet profile for my former website: PoetryInProgress.net back in March, 2013 he sent me information about himself. In addition, I have pieced together other information from various sources found on the web. Immediately below is some of the information about him.
Russell Glen Robison was born in Duncan, Oklahoma. He moved to Dallas, Texas, in 1958. After graduating from Richardson High School in 1964 he studied history at East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas. He also attended Oklahoma University. He joined the United States Navy in 1967. He served aboard the U.S.S. Lexington (CVS-16) where he volunteered for service in Vietnam, arriving “in country” during the Tet offensive in 1968. He was assigned for duty at NSA Dong Tam, and served three tours of duty until discharged in 1971. He worked at the Dallas Post Office for 33 years. He lived in Red Oak, Texas upon his death on February 24, 2014.
Combat patch / Shouder Sleeve Insignia (SSI)
of Russell's unit
Some personal comments from Glenn Currier
I am sad to say that I never met Russell personally and only corresponded with him through emails and poetry submissions on this website. Several times I said to myself that I wanted to go to nearby Red Oak to meet him because in the last several months of his life he was severly disabled and could barely walk. Before he fell from the loading dock at the Post Office in Dallas where he worked for 33 years, he said that he wanted to come to one of our Poetry in Progress meetings. The fact that I did not act on my desire to meet him is a great regret for me. It is one more lesson to cherish my older friends and relatives while they are still alive.
Although I did not serve in the military, because I am about the age of most Vietnam Veterans and had several military veterans in my community college classes, I came to admire them for their courage and their service and to feel great compassion for their suffering. But I have to say that a lot of my present sentiments and knowledge of these soldiers and their journey has come to me through the poetry of Russell Robison, as well as other veterans I have met in our poetry group.
About Russell's Poetry: My Reflections
The proceeds from the sale of all of his books go to the Wounded Warrior Project.
My first communication with Russell was when he sent me a poem about the Sandy Hook / Newtown tragedy and he did write poems on a lighter note, for example, The Vegitarian Encounter. However, most of his poems are about his experiences during the Vietnam war and afterwards as he dealt with various disabilities and emotional challenges. My sense is that Russell used poetry as a way of spiritually processing the trauma of war. I can relate to using poetry as an expression of my spiritual journey and for that reason Russell's poetry resonates deeply within me.
According to Russell, he did three tours in Vietnam in the Mekong Delta Fighting on the river. He was a 50 Caliber gunner. When I started exchanging emails with Russell he told me of a very severe fall at work (the Post Office)...
The following is taken from the webpage describing Russell's book, Delta Blue
I was stationed at a naval support base in the Mekong Delta that worked with the Mobile Riverine Force(USN), and the 9th. Infantry(US.Army). Much like a mechanic working at a gas station near an expressway, we fixed the ships and watched the traffic go by. We saw the price the MRF paid in its battles with the enemy. The battle scarred ships bore silent testimony to the fierceness of their struggles. They were our heroes, we watched them take the fight to the enemy at a heavy price. These poems are about real people I met, each with their own story. From the cobra pilots who intervened one night in our defense( BIG MAN ), to the nurse who couldn't take any more (REGRETTABLE FLAW), to the loss of too many friends (IN MEMORIAM...VETERANS DAY), the Seal team member (MADDOG). My words can never express our awe of them, they were my hero's and always will be.
Further insights into Russell and his poetry can be taken from other "About the Book" sections on the website, Lumina Press, the company that published his work. Especially poignant to me are the poems he wrote to accompany the publication of his books, Delta Blue - Testament, and Requiem.
Delta Blue - Hallowed Ground
I walked among Giants, and they called me brother. This is a book of poetry—combat poetry, raw and real—about those I served with in Vietnam. All wars are the same. The uniforms change, the weapons change, the nations change, but war is an emotion that never changes for those who have known it.
Delta Blue - Testament
Think not of cost is what they said
And disregard how many dead
But those who sit in lofty air
Will never understand my prayer
Forgive us God now as we fall
Inside the sadness of it all
For those who fell no more to rise
And those who still can hear their cries
I still can see them lying there
Some eyes are closed while others stare
The fallen ones no longer strong
For they have finished with their song
Too many times I've seen that sight
Too many times I've cried at night
Unable to resist the thought
That what they did will be forgot
Early in 2013, at the U.S. Post Office where he worked for 33 years: "I got thrown off a piece of power equipment and fell 5 ft off the dock, fractured 8 ribs and cracked three vertebrae, now I have several herniated discs that make it very difficult to get around, but I am working at getting better."
From Russell's Buddies
In my pursuit of information about Russell I joined an online forum dedicated to Vietnam War veterans and their friends and family. There I picked up some valuable information about Russell. From Mike Harris, who on the forum calls hiimself Mekongmike:
Several of us... met in Oregon for a reunion. Brother Russell came. My wife and I pulled our travel trailer down to the local casino parking lot and he stayed in it. Russell was a quiet man who had served a couple of tours in Vietnam. His job was to repair the Riverine Craft that were damaged in battle. I believe that he was a Gunnersmate.
Most of Russell's poetry was directed to those who fought the boats as he would see the results of the firefights. He admired us, but we also admired those who served in the "rear". We could not have been as successful on the rivers and canals if it weren't for sailors like Russell who rejuvenated our boats into fighting condition.
Russell was stationed at a man-made base called Dong Tam. It was built by pumping spoils from the river to make a huge area for the base. Dong Tam was called "Rocket Alley" because they received so many rocket attacks. Russell had to endure dozens during his tours of duty.
Our Brother was as upright and honest as they come. He struggled with his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) until the end, but his Faith in God showed forth through it all.
And from his friend Dave on that forum:
Russell Robison and I became friends through our writing on this website. It was not a competition but a mutual telling of feelings express through words that we hoped others would understand. We met in person only once, at the reunion that Mike Harris mentioned that happened in Coos Bay, Oregon. We corresponded often by snail mail and more often by internet. ... Russell honored me by including a small bit of my work in his books. I honor him by reading his own work every day. Russell called those who served on the boats in VietNam "Giants" but he was truly our Giant in his description of us and his recognition that we all wanted the same thing, love and the peaceful time to give and receive love.
The above material was copied from a forum called: Brown Water Navy And Delta Army Vietnam Veterans. The web page is: http://brownwaternavyanddeltaarmyvietnamveterans.yuku.com/topic/12164/Another-Glory-Story#.U7K_RrHIbAl
Russell's Facebook Page
To get an insight into Russell and to read several of his poems that he posted in January 2014, please see Russell Robison's Facebook Page.
On Janurary 31, 2014 Russell posted the following on his Facebook page:
Just got home from 2 doctors visits, have a new nerve damage in my right hip too from my broken vertebrae...did the wheelchair thing for the first time, hated it...trying to calm down somehow, no pain meds allowed with my liver....sighhhhhh////so I'm ranting again....be well
Some Poems by Russell
An excerpt from Russell's book: Delta Blue: River War
There've been days I feared the night
And nights I've feared the dawn
They say the war is over
But the fears have never gone
You find out just how strong you are
When it's time to face your fear
For with it comes a chill inside
That warns of danger near
Those times when you will curse your eyes
For giving you such sight
It is a test of will
When it gets down to run or fight
Miss You Mom
By Russell Glen Robison - Delta Blue
I still can't help remembering
That day the magic died
And indeed I had the privilege
To be right there by her side
She taught me how to love
In spite of all the hate I knew
She had a special kindness
In her heart for me and you
She was a rock defiant
To the rushing tide so swift
Each day she was my anchor
Who refused to let me drift
And always there reminding me
Of His message from above
That the only time you worship God
Is when you share your love
I know it's just a journey
That we all must travel through
But how I miss the magic
Of this lady that I knew
Posted on Russell's Facebook page: May 8, 2011 at 8:03am
"Miss You Mom," Copyright c 2011 by Russell Robison - Delta Blue
By Russell Robison
I have heard the song men sing
When they must fight and die
Forever humbled I remain
By those who made that try
A song that's filled with hope and yet
A song of sad refrain
A song so full of courage
Though a song of so much pain
Each one a song so different
Yet a song so much the same
A song found in the madness
As they played the deadly game
A song that tears your heart out
As it fills you up with pride
A song that lives forever
In a special place inside
"Battle Hymn," Copyright 2013 by Russell Robison
Received May 25, 2013
Below are links to Russell Robison's books
Delta Blue Series: http://www.llumina.com/store/deltabluese
Delta Blue: http://www.llumina.com/store/deltablue.htm
Delta Blue: River War: http://www.llumina.com/store/riverwar.htm
Links related to Russell that you might find interesting
The following site has some very interesting information about myths about Vietnam War soldiers:
This is a video that gives you some of idea of what it might have been like at Russell's work location as he worked on the gun boats at Dong Tam:
If you have any information about Russell that would be helpful, please send it to me on the Contact Form at the bottom of the home page. Also on that form, if you so desire, you can give me your email address because the form is private and sent only to me.